Time to end Kashmiris’ sufferings


Rasheed Ahmed
Since the Government of India revoked Article 370 of the Indian Constitution stripping the Muslims the territory of Jammu and Kashmir of its autonomy, the situation there remains deeply disturbing. Pakistan declared India’s actions of August last year illegal and in violation of bilateral agreements and United Nations resolutions that call for a plebiscite to allow the local population to decide its fate. India rejected the criticism, saying the action was an internal matter By canceling Article 370 of the Constitution, the Indian government has given people from the rest of India the right to buy property in occupied Kashmir and settle there. The revoked constitutional provisions introduced decades ago included reserved government jobs and college placements for residents, in an effort that people do not overrun the state from the rest of India. Kashmiris as well as critics of India’s Hindu nationalist-led government termed the move as an endeavor to change the demographics of Muslim-majority Kashmir by Hindu settlers. No unilateral step by the Government of India can change the disputed status of IHK, as enshrined in the United Nations Security Council resolutions. The decision is not acceptable to the people of IHK and Pakistan. The Indian move was in violation of international resolutions and the Indian opposition parties slammed it as well. Even the Jammu and Kashmir High Court has ruled that Article 370, granting special status to the state, has assumed a place of permanence in the Constitution and the feature is beyond amendment, repeal, or abrogation. India imposed a lockdown in Kashmir and put Kashmiri leaders under house arrest including restrictions on movement and assembly. The actions came after the Indian government moved additional troops to the region, followed by an exceptional order asking tourists and Hindu pilgrims to leave the Himalayan Valley. Turning IHK and Ladhakh into union territories proves that India had lost hope. Kashmiris that supported India are also in jail or under house arrest. Placements of Indian forces near the security barricades and bunkers are everywhere. Indian targeting  of innocent civilians and the continued siege of innocent Kashmiris in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir constitute the worst human rights violations. The persecution of innocent men, women, and children in Kashmir at the hands of Indian occupation forces, who had illegally placed a population of eight million under detention, in utter disregard to human rights, is continuing. The rapes of thousands of Kashmiri women by the brute Indian army troops, as pointed out in the UN reports, the deaths of 100,000 Kashmiris, the detention of the entire Kashmiri political leadership, the abusive use of pellet guns against unarmed civilians, blockade of communication links and deployment of 900,000 security personnel to quell the freedom movement is unparalleled. According to Human Rights Watch, an international rights monitoring group, “Hundreds of people remain detained without charge, detractors are threatened with arrest, and access to the internet is limited. Kashmiris say, “Since August 5 last year we are living under a fascist regime like prisoners in an open-air cage. Killings, arrests, detentions under draconian laws, destruction of property is the order of the day”. Right now, no one is speaking against the newly introduced laws because people fear that they will be confined, the way a few days before August 5 last year several mainstream Indian politicians, pro-freedom leaders, businesspersons, and lawyers were detained. Prime Minister Imran Khan in his maiden address to the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York tugged at world conscience over Indian atrocities going on in occupied Kashmir, saying, “will the world go for a market of 1.2 billion people, or for justice and humanity”. He regretted that the world remained quiet as it saw India as a huge market. “Materialism has trumped humanity,” Imran said. “What kind of mindset locks up eight million people? Women, children, sick people. What I know of the West, they will not stand even for eight million locked-up animals. These are humans,” Imran said amidst loud applause. India even refused to listen to the UN Secretary-General António Guterres' call to refrain from taking steps that could affect the status of Jammu and Kashmir, recognized as a disputed territory by the United Nations and the Security Council. He said in a clear-cut manner that the UN position on Kashmir was tied to its own charter and applicable Security Council resolutions. India also ignored the US voice that India’s decision to annex Kashmir could increase instability in the region. India’s actions in Indian-held Kashmir (IHK), particularly appalling under the Modi government have been exposed in more than one UN report.



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